Source: China Daily
UPDATED: 08:18, March 22, 2007
Twenty-one domestic environ-mental groups yesterday called on the public to celebrate World Water Day 2007, which falls today, by boycotting products from companies that cause pollution.
"On this special day, we would like to ask China's vast consumer population to think about how companies behave with regard to the environment and to let those considerations influence their buying patterns, thus putting pressure on enterprises that cause pollution to change their ways," said Ma Jun, head of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, one of the groups involved.
Among the other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) making the call were Friends of Nature, Earth Village and Green Earth.
The group produced a blacklist of the country's worst polluters, compiled using data from the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs.
For the past three years, the institute has operated a website, which provides statistics on the water pollution situation in China, based on information from a range of environmental watchdogs.
Yesterday's list featured several multinational companies, including Panasonic Battery (Shanghai) Co Ltd, which was named for releasing wastewater in 2005 and 2006 that did not meet the standards of the local environmental protection bureau; Pepsi-Cola International (Changchun) Co Ltd, which was criticized for a similar offence in 2005; and Shanghai American-Standard Ltd Co, which is alleged to have caused water pollution in 2006.
Despite the presence of the multinationals on the list, the bulk of those featured were domestic small- to medium-size firms, Ma said.
"China is currently suffering from a severe water pollution problem," Liao Xiaoyi, the founder of Earth Village, said.
"Factories are spewing out huge amounts of wastewater, which is causing real harm to the environment and posing a serious threat to public health. But because of the booming economy, they are enjoying big sales without being punished for polluting our precious water resources.
"This sends the wrong message that they don't have to worry about protecting the environment."
By releasing the list, the environmentalists hope consumers will make more "green" purchases, so putting pressure on producers to pay more attention to environmental issues.
"The conditions are ripe for consumers to support the Green Choice initiative, because they have multiple options and the government is very open on the provision of environmental information," Ma said.
However, one environmental expert, who asked not to be named, reminded the initiators of Green Choice to double check the accuracy of the information released by the government.